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Passport Issued by France | Details and How to Renew

Travelers who are citizens of France will need to get a passport issued by that country before they can make international trips.

Fortunately, getting and using a French passport is easy, once travelers know what to do. Here’s what they need to know to obtain a passport and get the most out of having one.

What is a French Passport?

The French passport is the official travel document of France. Having one identifies a person as a French citizen and entitles them to certain rights when they travel abroad. 

A passport from France can also be used as identification in certain circumstances. Since it is an official ID, it can prove someone’s identity if they don’t have another way to do so. 

Some countries will let French passport holders enter without making them apply for a visa before they arrive.

Different countries have different laws for French passport holders, so people will need to make sure they know what is required of them before they visit a new place.

What Does a French Passport Look Like?

French passports are officially “Bordeaux Red”, though many people will assume they are the same maroon color as other European passports.

They are small booklets with reinforced covers, though the cover is not completely hard. The cover contains the coat of arms of France and identifies it as a French passport in French. 

Inside, the passport contains a couple of pages with the owner’s relevant personal information. This includes their whole name, birth date, place of birth, and more.

These pages also contain the traveler’s passport photograph so they can be identified visually if that is necessary.

Beyond that, a passport from France contains instructions and laws that indicate how, when, and where the passport can be used. 

Finally, the passport will have blank pages that can be stamped as the traveler enters and leaves foreign countries. These help track the traveler’s visits.

How to Get a Passport From France

People who want to get a French passport will need to apply at the police prefecture (if they live in Paris) or in their own town hall.

French citizens overseas can apply for a passport at a local embassy or consulate.

Before they apply, they should go online and complete the passport application form. They will need to create an account, and they can also prepay for their passport.

They will need to present documentation when they go to complete the application in person.

First, they will need their official French ID card. If they don’t have one of these, they can bring any proof of French nationality and their birth certificate.

Next, they will need proof of their address in France and either payment for the passport fee or proof that they already paid the fee online.

They should also bring a passport photo of themselves and their online pre-application number, if they began the application process that way.

Finally, they should be ready to have their biometric data taken during the application process. This may include fingerprints, retinal scans, and more.

Applicants under 18 years of age will need to have a parent or guardian come with them when they apply. They may also need to submit additional documentation.

It may take a few days to a few weeks for the passport to be ready. Applicants will receive a text message when their document is ready for pickup.

How to Renew a FRA Passport

Renewing a passport issued by France is very similar to applying for one in the first place. The major difference is that travelers will need to bring their old passport with them.

Most of the time, they can bring their old passport instead of their French ID or proof of nationality.

If the passport being renewed is more than five years expired, travelers will need to bring both it and proof of nationality to their appointment.

Beyond that, the process is the same as getting a passport for the first time.

What To Do If a French Passport is Lost or Stolen

If a passport issued by France is lost or stolen, the passport’s owner needs to report it as such.

They can report to either a town hall or any police station if they are inside France. They will need to contact a French consulate or embassy if they are traveling outside the country.

Once the passport is reported missing, the person will need to apply for a new French passport using the same procedure outlined above.

If they need to travel urgently before they will receive their new passport, they may be able to get an emergency passport.

These are only issued under certain circumstances and officials will be able to notify people if they qualify.

How Powerful is the FRA Passport?

While different organizations rank passport power differently, the French passport is always one of the most powerful ones in the world.

These numbers are subject to change, but the French passport currently offers visa-free or visa on arrival access to 188 countries.

All of this easy access means that people with a passport from France can move easily through much of the world, without needing to worry about getting a visa before they leave home.

Different Types of Passports Issued by France

The vast majority of people who get passports issued by the French government will get regular passports. These are for ordinary citizens who are not traveling on official business for France.

People who are traveling on official government business may qualify for other types of passports.

Diplomatic passports are for people who hold formal diplomatic positions in the French government. Only the highest qualifying officials will get one of these passports. 

Other officials traveling on formal business for France may qualify for an official passport. These are not quite as powerful as diplomatic passports but offer somewhat more than a regular one. 

Note that diplomatic and official passports may only be used when the person is traveling on government business.

If they choose to travel more or extend a trip for personal reasons, they will also need to carry an ordinary passport for that part of their trip.

Emergency temporary passports can be issued quickly, often the same day they are applied for. They are valid for a short period of time and are usually for people being displaced. 

The displacement may occur for medical reasons, professional reasons, or humanitarian reasons.

These may also be issued if French citizens need to travel urgently and do not have a regular passport.

Validity Rules for Passports from France

French passports are valid for 5 years if the applicant is under 18 years old, or 10 years if the applicant is over 18.

In order to be able to enter another country on a FRA passport, it will need to have at least 6 months of validity beyond the entry day. 

If a passport does not have this extended validity, its owner should renew it before they try to travel on it. Otherwise, they may be denied entry to countries they want to visit.

Similarly, a French passport needs to have 1 or 2 blank pages for every country that its owner wants to visit. Without these, government officials cannot stamp the passport.

If they cannot stamp it, they may deny entry at the border. No one wants this to happen, so the passport owner should renew it if there aren’t enough pages available.

Restrictions on Passports from France

The French government can choose to restrict or revoke a passport at any time.

Usually, this only happens if the passport holder breaks certain laws or is convicted of certain offenses. 

Damaged passports are considered restricted in France. If the passport cannot be read or used properly, it is no longer valid and needs to be replaced.

Qualifying damage can include water or other damage from liquids, tears in the passport, smudging that makes the passport difficult to read, and more. 

People who are not sure if their passport is too damaged should check with the government before they try to use it to travel. They can get a new one if theirs will no longer work.

What is Dual Citizenship?

A person who has dual citizenship qualifies as a citizen in more than one country. France is a country that permits this. 

This means that France will not tell people that they have to give up their French citizenship if they choose to also get citizenship in another country.  

Having dual citizenship means that people can hold passports from two different countries. They should use the same passport when entering or leaving any single country other than their own.

Biometrics and the Passport from France

All French passports have biometric data stored on a computer chip that is in the front cover of the passport. There is a small symbol embossed over the location of this chip.

This chip also contains all of the data that is in the passport, like the person’s name, address, etc. 

It can be scanned when entering and leaving countries to help make lines move faster and reduce direct contact between people. 

If this chip is damaged, the passport is no longer valid. Damage can occur from liquids, in a fall, or it can get smashed.

If the chip is damaged, the person will need to reapply and get a brand new passport before they can travel internationally again.

Having a French passport makes moving around the world easy for citizens of France. They can apply for one, get it soon, and take a trip whenever they are ready to go.

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